As you grow older, you’ll discover there are more and more pills that are hard to swallow. Some of them really are pills, but others are the changing circumstances you find yourself in, whether you like them or not. And, they are often difficult to swallow.
As young adults, when you began to raise a family, you learned to feed, clothe, nurture, and otherwise care for your children. Some of it came naturally; some of it, if you were like us, you learned from Dr. Spock. But, you did it without giving it much thought, because that’s what parents do, and you did it until the children were old enough and mature enough to take care of themselves. Even after that, much to their chagrin, you probably continued to do some of it.
Whether it was for one child or several, your mindset was that of guardian and protector. What the child needed, you provided. In our case, my wife and I had three sons and a daughter. As responsible parents, we were always “there” when they needed us, as a shoulder to lean on, an ear that would listen, and a chauffeur for that ride they urgently needed. We were strong, independent, hard-working and responsible, and we had the means.
You had hope for your children that one day they would be able to do for their own children what you did for them. You hoped you had provided the inspiration and the tools. As time and age take their toll, you’ll begin to discover that, not only are you no longer doing many of those parenting things, your children are beginning to have to do more of them for you.
Your needs could be for a variety of reasons — physical, mental, financial, or they could be a combination of all these. Whatever the cause, you could be rendered unable to adequately take care of yourself and your needs. If you are fortunate, as we have been, those children you so dutifully nurtured will be there for you.
In our case, we have been blessed with four very loving, caring, and responsible children who have stepped up to provide many of the things we need that we are now lacking. Until lately, Mom had done the nursing, both professionally and for the children. She really was a nurse. But, now she’s the one who requires occasional care. And, Dad was the handy man. But, now he isn’t quite as handy as he once was, and he often needs a hand himself.
According to dictionary.com, one definition of “parent” in addition to being “a father or a mother” is “a protector or guardian”. To paraphrase the famous words of Pogo: “We have met the children and they are us.”